PT Bad editing in Episode II?

Discussion in 'Prequel Trilogy' started by slimybug, Jun 6, 2014.

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  1. slimybug Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 14, 2001
    star 5
    I remember, back in the day, hearing a lot about how the editing in Attack of the Clones was very sub-par. Of course, Ben Burtt edited the film (and co-edited I & III), and I certainly recall people saying that he was an under qualified, inexperienced editor who shouldn't have gotten the job.

    Now, I actually studied film, and did my share of editing. But I've never been particularly good at recognizing bad editing itself. And that actually kind of bothers me. Would any filmmaking nerds like to point out just what the bad cuts were in the film?
  2. oierem Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 2009
    star 3

    Good luck with the answers. Most people tend to confuse editing (deciding the shot and their lenghts) with the actual selection of scenes (which scenes are deleted), and most of the critics about the editing use to attack the later aspect.

    Personally, I'm very interested in the editing aspect of the movies, and I like George's style very much. I wouldn't say Clones is poorly edited at all.
  3. squir1y Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 1, 2003
    star 2
    The big one that stands out for me is the following sequence.

    Obi-Wan says farewell to Lama Su and relays his message about the clone army to Yoda and Mace Windu who are ordering Kenobi to bring Jango Fett to Coruscant. The next scene is Anakin on Naboo having a nightmare and then a dissolve to him standing outside during sunrise and discussing rescuing his mother with Padme. Then in the next scene, Obi-Wan chases down Jango and Boba who are boarding Slave 1. It took Obi-Wan as long as a Naboo twilight to full on sunrise to get to Jango's landing platform. I kind of wish they would've slid in the scenes with Padme's family, so they could've filled out the gap better and have Anakin's nightmare come after Obi-Wan's battle with Jango. Just think that would've worked better.

    Granted, one could say the same with The Empire Strikes Back. It seemed Han and Leia had only been running from the Imperial fleet for a day or two, while Luke is training for what was apparently weeks with Yoda. I'm sure there was a lot of stuff going on that the audience didn't see, but if they were in the Falcon for as long as Luke was on Dagobah, I hope there was some kind of laundry service onboard. Haha
  4. oierem Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 2009
    star 3
    With all due respect, I wouldn't say that's an editing problem, at least not related to how the scenes are edited. I think it's an important distinction because while any possible editing flaws can be atributed to Burtt, he doesn't decide the order of the scenes at all.

    In Star Wars, different storylines are intercut following a dramatic logic and structure. I don't think they are meant to be strictly chronological (as you say, the biggest "flaw on that regard would be Luke's training vs. Hand and Leia on the run in Empire). Regarding Clones, the second quarter of the film intercuts the love story and Obi-Wan's investigation, both very underplayed, before the movie switches to a more dramatic section. Obi-Wan's battle with Jango is the ending to that section, because it breaks the mood and propels the momentum to the next section (Tatooine/Geonosis). Going from an action piece like that to a quiet scene between Padme and Anakin about his nightmare would be a very poor choice (even if it would be more chronological). Going from a forebrooding conversation between the Jedi to the nightmare works much better, and Anakin's decission to go to Tatooine marks the ending to that whole Naboo section, breaking the mood, which seems to prepare the audience for the action sequence.
    Samnz likes this.
  5. Samnz Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 4, 2012
    star 3
    AOTC is accused of many things, but very few of them are justified, imo. In this specific case, I think some people just didn't like the film and were then looking for reasons why. When they saw "Ben Burtt" was credited as an editor, they had a "reason" without having to back it up with actual evidence (scenes, examples, explanations etc.).

    If I was looking for "bad editing" in the film, I could probably think of two moments:
    One is the scene transition from rocky Tatooine to rocky Geonosis (because it potentially confuses the audience) and the other is Anakin's arm being cut off (because it's a bit slow, although this could be intential since it's a pivotal moment, symbolically spoken).

    However, AOTC also offers the coolest scene transition of all the Star Wars films, by far:
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    Anakin strikes to the right, the camera moves to the left, the wipe focuses on Anakin's face and Anakin being "hidden" from Yoda (who feels his pain). Whenever I watch that scenes, this transition seels the surreal horror, helplessness and chaos of the moment.

    I also very much like the little scene when Anakin returns with his dead mother from a cinematic/editing standpoint.They very nicely back and forth between him and the reactions of the other people he passes by.
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    Moreoever, I think it's very hard to deny that Obi-Wan inspecting the Army with Lama Su was well edited. With all the things going on, them walking along the hallway in a massive facility, clones in combat training, young "Boba" clones, older clones eating, marching clones....it could have easily become very confusing but it turned out great, very clear and informative. Well done.
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    There are also numerous litte, but noticable cuts that dramatically heighten a certain moment. You might consider a specific cut during Shmi's funeral from a wide shot...
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    ... to a medium (long) shot ...
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    ... at the very moment when Anakin falls on his knees. It works great in motion when you watch it.

    A very similar creative utilization of this technique can be observed during the Fireplace Scene when there is a cut to a very strong close-up of Padmé. If you watch it in motion, you get a slear cinematic translation of Anakin's verbal "the closer I get to you, to worse it gets" (I've always thought that the fireplace scene is one of the strongest scenes on many, many levels if you take out the dialogue, which even isn't that bad when you consider the intention behind it).
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    Of course, AOTC is also the Star Wars film with a lightsaber duel that relies almost exclusively on editing an lighting:
    the Anakin/Dooku duel.
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    The film also had several very complex, multi-event actions (Speeder-Chase, Arena Battel etc.) scenes and the editing never felt out of place, imo.

    So, in short: Apart from those two moments at the beginning, I'm not aware of any editing failings and I'd be happy if those who make that claim would finally back it up with actual scenes, specific cuts and an explanation for their dismissive view.
    .
    Last edited by Samnz, Jun 7, 2014
  6. timmoishere Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 2, 2007
    star 6
    The worst editing job I noticed in the prequels was during Obi-Wan's fistfight with General Grievous. In one segment, Grievous flings Obi-Wan off the platform, but Obi-Wan manages to grab hold of the edge. The shot of Obi-Wan rolling off the edge went a few frames too long, leading to this awkward edit:
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  7. Darth_Martus Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2011
    star 1


    Good points although I've always been disapointed by the Anakin and Dooku saber fight. It's just lights and twirling sabers, I felt it should have been more but it's likely that that's all it was ever intended as: a warm up to the Dooku v Yoda fight.
  8. Vialco Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 6, 2007
    star 4
    It showed that Anakin was more powerful that Obi-Wan, as Dooku was unable to toy with him and had to take him seriously. It also showed Dooku's power and demonstrates to the audience that only Yoda has the power of defeat him at this point. It also shows that Anakin is very powerful in his own right, and that with more training he could defeat Dooku, as he does in ROTS.
  9. PiettsHat Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 1, 2011
    star 4

    Not really sure if I'll make sense here, but this scene gives me the impression that that Obi-Wan managed to grab onto something right below the ledge and then sling his hand back up to grab it. So he goes over, grabs onto something sticking out below the edge with his right hand, and then manages to sling his left hand over the ledge. Does that make sense?
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  10. PiettsHat Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 1, 2011
    star 4
    I actually think AOTC's editing is very good for the most part. If you want an example of atrocious editing, here's my go-to example:

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    If you watch this scene in Star Trek Into Darkness, you'll notice Uhura is talking to the Klingons when suddenly, one of them moves forward and grabs her face. We cut to Kirk then back to Uhura as she grabs the Klingon's forearm with both of her hands. Then the Klingon reaches down and grabs for the blade at his side, drawing it out of its sheath. Suddenly, though, Khan attacks (Kirk's head turns to look at the source of the disturbance) and here's where the editing gets downright terrible. As soon as we cut back to Uhura, she's suddenly, inexplicably free -- the Klingon that was holding on to her face just seems to have let go for no reason. Then we cut to Khan and then back to Uhura reaching for THE SAME WEAPON the Klingon was unsheathing earlier -- the one he had in his hand -- and stabbing him with it.

    This scene makes no sense the way it is edited.

    The reason it is like this is because they changed what happened. Originally, the Klingon never grabbed Uhura. He was listening to her but Kirk got antsy and dove in guns blazing (which is why she's free in that reaction shot -- she's turning around to Kirk beginning the attack). Then Khan joined the fray. But…yeah…the way it's edited is a hot mess.
    Last edited by PiettsHat, Jun 7, 2014
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  11. Oissan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 9, 2001
    star 6
    The one scene I don't like is the Dooku vs. Obi Wan fight. It has barely started, and suddenly Dookus talks about being disappointed with Obi Wan. There is a whole lot missing there.

    The close ups in the dark when Dooku and Anakin fight is sort of cool, but once you realise that they don't hit anything and just swing in the air, it gets kind of dull. A few clashes would have improved the scene, which in itself is quite a nice idea, something totoally different from all the other fights.
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  12. Primetime_Jedi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 21, 2000
    star 4
    Like others have said, I think AOTC is just a poorly structured story (I'm not saying I hate all of it, it just needs the most work of the PT). It could/should have been tightened up. They could have cut a lot of extraneous scenes which would have made the movie brisker and more engaging.

    "Less is more" should have been the rule especially with the Naboo scenes. Less scenes of Anakin & Padme together would have made it more powerful, IMHO. Less of Anakin talking! I mean, if they had just sat on the couch and stared at each other without talking, it would have been more meaningful. Remember in ROTS when they were "looking" at each other from across Coruscant (Padme's apt and the Jedi Council room). THAT was powerful.

    The Obi-Wan/Jango sequence should have been re-structured. Most people agree their battle was really cool, but there should have been more build up to it. It wasn't the editing, per se, it was the scripting.

    The final battle was generally cool, but there were several hiccups in the editing. It just looked choppy in places. Check out when Padme and Anakin get knocked over when they're riding in that one thing (I don't remember what's it's called and i'm bad at posting images).
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  13. slimybug Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 14, 2001
    star 5
    Interesting, but what were some others of the several "hiccups" you noticed in that scene?
  14. Primetime_Jedi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 21, 2000
    star 4
    Another one is the interchange between Mace, Jango, and the monster/beast thing chasing them. It's an awkwardly constructed series of shots. Watch it again. I'm not saying it's terrible, but with the level of production and money going into a Star Wars movie, it should be a lot better.
  15. Darth_Articulate Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2012
    star 4

    The editor can only work with the raw material that he or she is given. How would you have suggested editing this if there is no footage of Uhura freeing herself or taking her weapon back?
    Last edited by Darth_Articulate, Jun 7, 2014
  16. PiettsHat Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 1, 2011
    star 4
    Of course, but it's still terrible editing because it's clearly splicing together a scene that was originally shot one way (Kirk interfering) with a different take (Uhura being threatened by the Klingons) and does so extremely sloppily.

    For one, the scene would have been improved by not showing the Klingon grabbing the weapon, that way when Uhura takes it, there's not this weird discontinuity since the Klingon was supposed to be holding it already.


    For another, it might have been better to take out that shot of Uhura looking back entirely since Khan's shots come from a completely different direction (she was reacting to Kirk initially). Instead, focus on Kirk and Spock's reactions and then show Uhura going for the weapon. No, it doesn't perfectly explain away everything (like why the Klingon is no longer holding on to her face), but it's better than the hot mess we have.

    It was just an example though. I don't really see anything in AOTC nearly as egregious as this which is why I'm baffled that people say it has bad editing.
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  17. Darth_Articulate Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2012
    star 4
    How do you know the Klingon grabbing the weapon wasn't a directorial decision? Editing decisions have to do with timing and continuity, often times of shots already mandated by the director.

    Fair enough.
  18. thejeditraitor Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 19, 2003
    star 4
    i've never had much of a problem with the editing of the films. the only thing i'd like fixed is palps initial stab in the posse scene. it definitely needs to be sped up because it looks too slow. the twirl jump and scream is awesome. the rest of it is great too. the part that needs fixing is the slowness of his stab into agen kolar. i know they want people to comprehend what's going on but it make the posse look stupid. all i would do is speed up the stab and hold on the saber in the jedi's body.
    Last edited by thejeditraitor, Jun 7, 2014
  19. DRush76 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 25, 2008
    star 4
    I would have to watch the movie again to see if there are any scenes featuring bad editing. Right now, I don't remember any such scenes.
  20. sharkymcshark Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 12, 2013
    star 2
    Episode III had the most jarring editing for me.

    The most jarring for me is in the final battle on Mustafar when Obi Wan swings using the cables to get off the falling radiator arm thing.



    5:50 here.

    Obi Wan reaches the peak of his swing, looks up, reaches the peak of his swing again, and then CGI double Obi Wan swings off the cable from an entirely different starting position to the one that we'd just seen him hanging in 2 seconds before.

    Gets me every time.
  21. thejeditraitor Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 19, 2003
    star 4
    oh. i see your point. doesn't take me out of it too much. it's very quick.
    Last edited by thejeditraitor, Jun 8, 2014
  22. Alexrd Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 7, 2009
    star 5
    Last edited by Alexrd, Jun 8, 2014
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  23. Qui-Riv-Brid Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 18, 2013
    star 3
    I have no real problem with any of the editing in any of the movies for the simple reason Lucas knows about a zillion times more than any of us.

    There are all sorts of "problems" in each of the films and in any movie ever made if you want to find them.

    As stated before some people confuse editing with the selection of scenes.
  24. DARTHVENGERDARTHSEAR Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 8, 2002
    star 4
    I always figured fixing the Falcon and laying low for a while (well, at least until they thought the Empire wouldn't be around anymore) is what kept them in hiding in all those weeks. Plus the fact that it would have taken them a long time to reach Bespin without a hyperdrive, a whole month gone by isn't really too hard to imagine.

    And as far as the editing in the Prequels is concerned, there are a lot of scenes that needed it, but it's mostly due to piss poor dialogue and lousy cgi.
    Last edited by DARTHVENGERDARTHSEAR, Jun 8, 2014
  25. Iron_lord Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 6
    Given how far apart systems normally are - I figure "cobbling together an emergency hyperdrive" would have been necessary. That could have been what took up most of the month - cannibalizing bits of the Falcon to get a hyperdrive that'll get them to the next system, though no further.
    DARTHVENGERDARTHSEAR likes this.
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